New Orleans March 21–25, 2015
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A Foodie’s Guide to New Orleans

by Nicole Caridad Ralston

As a local New Orleans higher education professional I was thrilled to learn that New Orleans would be the host for the 2015 NASPA Annual Conference! New Orleans is a fantastic city that has so much to offer including crawfish boils, fresh oysters, copious amounts of gumbo and jambalaya and beignets! Oh, wait…the only things I mentioned were food, which is exactly what this blog post is dedicated to: the culinary delights of the Crescent City!

As a self-proclaimed foodie I must admit that eating out anywhere in this town is sure to bring you a delectable meal which is why I think it is a true culinary city: you don’t have to look far to find yourself eating something heavenly (or sinful if you’re a calorie-counter). In this brief post I’ll highlight some of my favorites that are close to the Convention Center: Coop’s Place, Cochon the Butcher, and if you want to find a more extensive list doing a quick internet search will help you navigate the culinary city or check out my food blog “Off the Eaten Path” at

To begin, I’ll share with you my favorite place to get all of the New Orleans staples (jambalaya, gumbo, poboys, redfish, etc.) in the French Quarter.  Also, insider tip: locals say, “The Quarter”!  So, in The Quarter you must try Coop’s Place on Decatur Street which is near the French Market and Jackson Square.  Coop’s Place is a little hole in the wall, so don’t expect to have to dress up or pay a hefty price for their Nola dishes!  Do expect to wait in a long line, especially on weekends, but you can always go next door to Molly’s At The Market and get yourself a frozen Irish coffee or bloody Mary while you wait in line.

Once you’re seated at Coop’s, consider ordering the “Taste Plate”, as this will give you the most standard Nola fare for you and your colleagues to try.  The taste plate features rabbit jambalaya, a cup of gumbo, fried chicken, shrimp creole, and red beans and rice with sausage!  Coop’s Place is my favorite place to take visitors when roaming around The Quarter, so make sure you make it to this delicious spot!

Cochon The Butcher is the sandwich spot next door to Cochon the restaurant and both are fantastic dining options, but I’m going to focus on The Butcher.  This recently renovated sandwich shop is located in the Central Business District which is nearby most of the conference hotels.  They serve up unique twists on otherwise typical sandwiches and they offer the famous New Orleans sandwich: The Muffaletta.  The muffaletta was brought to New Orleans by Italian immigrants and if cured meats and olives are your thing… then this is the sandwich for you.  I also recommend the pork belly and anything that The Butcher has on special.  Don’t miss out on the sides here; the pancetta man-n-cheese is the stuff dreams are made of!

Lastly, let me tell you about an upscale option that has a fantastic happy hour: Domenica in The Roosevelt Hotel.  Domenica is part of the Besh Restaurant Group which basically means it’s guaranteed to be great.  This upscale Italian place is a go-to for imaginative Italian dishes and artisanal pizzas.  The pizza menu changes regularly but some of my favorites have been the goat cheese and beet pizza, and the pear and pancetta pizza.  The happy hour here can’t be beat;  half-priced pizzas and drinks from 2:00PM-5:00PM! This would be the perfect place to catch-up with old colleagues or new friends before heading to some of the many socials the 2015 NASPA Annual Conference has to offer!

Enjoy your time dining in our city!

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